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Introduction

Medieval town of Varzi

Medieval town of Varzi

© stef7sa

Varzi is a small town in the midst of the panoramic hills of the Oltrepò Pavese, at 416 metres above sea level, halfway along the Staffora valley. The Staffora river originates from the Apennines, to finally end up in the Po north of Voghera.

Varzi is a town with a medieval centre with towers, fortifications, small alleys and porticoes. In the past is was an important stop along the so-called salt road, that ran from the sea at Liguria to the Po plain.

It is nice to make a walk through the small streets with their low porticoes. Suggested itinerary: Via del Mercato, Via della Maiolica, Vicolo Dietro le Mura, Via Roma, Via Di Dentro. An annotated town plan can be consulted at the Varzi Viva website.

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Sights and Activities

Church in Varzi

Church in Varzi

© stef7sa

Along the town walk you may look for:

  • The Chiesa dei Rossi: the church of the Red, called like this because of the St Trinity brotherhood with their red cloaks that gathered here
  • The Chiesa dei Bianchi, the church of the White, called such because of the white caps of the Gonfalone brotherhood that use to gather here
  • The 13th century Malaspina tower, that dominates the valley, which is open for visits
  • The Chiesa dei Cappuccini, or Capuchin Friars’ Romanesque church, originally of the 12th century, adapted in the 16th, but completely restored to its original during the late 20th century, with a fresco fragment
  • The Porta Sottana and Porta Soprana towers, of 1275.

The surroundings of Varzi are enchanting, the pleasant Staffora river valley, the fertile green hills, the spectacular panoramic views.
Close to Varzi lies the Castle of Oramala, which can be visited on request.

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Eat

The most famous product of Varzi is its salame, a type of sausage. The Salame di Varzi is a product protected by Italian and European law, only to be made in Varzi and its close surroundings. In Varzi there are two official shops that sell it:

  • Vecchio Varzi at Via Castelletto 11
  • Salumeria Belli at Via Pietro Mazza 24.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Varzi Travel Helpers

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This is version 19. Last edited at 9:41 on Jun 28, 13 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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